Hello Comic Booked cohorts, here is your daily dose of DC. Continuing with their DCnU issue three celebration, DC is filling us in on three things that we need to know about Action Comics. This is a good one. If you have been reading Action Comics, we have been introduced to a ton of Superman’s friends and foes and they are very quickly becoming the heroes and villains we know and love. We have already seen the progression of John Corben into Metallo, been given a glimpse of what might be Braniac, seen a sabertoothed Krypto, and even explored a little bit of Krypton and the House of El. Morrison is certainly not wasting his time establishing Kal-El’s supporting cast.

In Action Comics #2, readers were briefly introduced to John Henry Irons as he protested Superman’s torture at the hands of Lex Luthor. It looks like we will not have to wait long to see him become the awesome Steel! Steel, along with Superboy, is one of the greatest things to have come out of Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen storylines. Apart from an embarrassing movie staring Shaq that ultimately grossed about 1/16th of its production value, Steel has been a welcome addition to the Superman family for nearly twenty years. I have always felt that Steel had it a little rough. His comics during the ’90s often showed him being blamed for things that were not his fault, or having family members suffer or die. In many ways Steel became the fix to Superman’s biggest flaw. See, Superman is not allowed to fail, he is too strong and perfect for that. I am not going to say that he has never failed, but at the end of the day you still expect Superman to win. Steel was never that lucky. Hopefully the revamped Steel will not be subject to so much punishment.

More important than all of this, a new question must be considered. If Steel makes his appearance this early, and we have already been introduced to Superboy, does this mean that Death of Superman never happened? Is it possible that the plan is to re-tell the the battle with Doomsday, or does DC just plan on eliminating the Reign of Supermen storyline? After all, we have not even been introduced to Hank Henshaw or the Eradicator at this point. This is one of the truly great events in comics, and had lasting effects on the old DCU right up to its end. I don’t know about you but this is will be one part of the DCnU that I will be anxiously awaiting.  Until then, here is what you need to know about Action Comics:

1) BACKUPS ARE COMING

Starting with #4 (on sale 12/7), ACTION COMICS will now include eight-page backups written by Grant Morrison’s hand-picked choice, Sholly Fisch (writer of THE ALL NEW BATMAN THE BRAVE & THE BOLD). Each one will tie in directly with the 20-page lead story. What’s the backup of #4 about? Well, that brings us to our next “thing you need to know”…

2) STEEL IS MAKING HIS “NEW 52” DEBUT

The lead story in ACTION #4 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales features the debut of the “New 52” Steel! Last we saw of John Henry Irons, in ACTION #2, he had quit his military job in protest over Lex Luthor torturing Superman under General Lane’s command. Now, as the Terminauts lay siege to Metropolis, it’s time for John Henry to put his money where his mouth is and go help Superman defend the city. The backup in #4 ties into the main story by depicting a critical fight between Steel and the brand new Metall-0!

3) BRAD WALKER AND CHRISCROSS TO DRAW BACKUPS

Brad Walker (HEROES FOR HIRE) is drawing the backup in #4. The backups of #5 — spotlighting Ma & Pa Kent — and #6 will be drawn by ChrisCross (SUPERMAN/BATMAN). The backup of #7 sees Brad Walker return to the art, and then #8 — the conclusion of the first storyarc — is one big issue-long epic by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales!

As a bonus, check out this first look at Steel’s armor by Brad Walker (based off a design by Rags Morales)! Much in the same way that Superman is wearing jeans and a T-shirt in this current arc, at this point Steel’s armor is in its “prototype” phase. Look for the final design somewhere down the line, but in the meantime, get ready for one heck of a throwdown!

- Wil Moss, Associate Editor, ACTION COMICS